Some new swagger…

Well, in Fij news, I’m still working away on it. I’m about halfway (I mean, how do you make an estimate of these things) done with the editor, and therefore, the underlying structure of the game. I’m in the process of refactoring some things so that I can add more features easily. I’ll leave you with something mysterious:

How do you forgive someone who never apologizes for what they’ve done?

Well, it’s 2010 now. In the past year, I watched a lot more movies than I usually do. Well, at least in theaters I mean. So perhaps I should talk about some more recent things I’ve seen. Or at least the ones that I didn’t already talk about…hmm…

So, I guess I’ll just go through all the movies I’ve seen that came out in 2009, including Up in the Air, which I just saw the day before yesterday, so I didn’t exactly see it in 2009, but it’s a film from the last year, so I’ll keep it in here. So, here’s my brief, or maybe not so brief reviews of 2009 in film.


Ah, James Cameron, after proving everyone wrong who said that Titanic would be a massive failure, he just sort of went into hiding for like…eleven years. Well, I mean there was that documentary about the Titanic, but really… That doesn’t count. So, he obviously had big shoes to fill with this one. And being a big fan of Titanic myself, (Yeah, I know – chick flick, right? But hey, give it a chance, it’s great ) I was certainly the type of person who Cameron needed to work hard to impress.

And he certainly impressed me. Before the movie came out, I wracked my brain trying to find out why he would spend so much time and money on making the film 3D, but now I know. The movie is simply amazing to behold in 3D, and after seeing the film. I can see a revolution in film-making on the horizon. Finally a film has come out which has done 3D right. Treating it as a tasteful extension of the current film-making techniques which serves the purpose of immersing the audience even more in the film’s world. There’s never anything in the film that jumps out at you as “Woah!! 3D!!!” But this fact does not in any way explain how amazing the experience of this film in 3D is. The movie has plenty of “Wow” moments from the visuals. (I mean, when have I been astounded at computer screens in a movie? But they’re in 3D gahdammit, it’s awesome!)

However, many people have complained that the story underlying the film is “overly predictable”. Personally, all I have to say about that is, “Seriously? What movie have you seen that’s like this?” Sure, there’s that part with the tanks rolling in that’s kinda like that seen in Ferngully. Sure the basic story of a soldier who falls for the enemy’s way of life has been done before in movies like The Last Samurai. But that movie was great, and the story is just as great in Avatar. It’s just a good story. It seems like these movie critics either have trouble appreciating the movie because they don’t actually have to pay to see the film. (Which, in my opinion should make me more critical of the story anyways) Either that, or they are too cynical to feel good about a movie which ends well. Is it so bad that the things we want to happen in the movie happen. We all want the main character to fall in love with that girl, we all want it to end well. What gives guys? I mean, did you want everyone to die a horrible death? Frankly the movie wouldn’t have benefited the slightest from any possible “artsy” ending, and I’m glad for it.

Perhaps it’s just me, that I’ve entered a state in my life in which I want to see movies which actually make me feel good about being alive as I walk out of the theater. Maybe I should be glad when a movie has a disappointing ending, and the characters are unhappy. I’ve certainly seen my fair share of sad movies. But having a movie that ends sadly for no reason is just as bad as the supposedly “hollywood audience pandering” good ending that people like to blame movies like Avatar for. The movie is good, the movie makes you feel good. Isn’t that enough?

Overall 10/10 <- I totally need to stop doing this numerical ratings, I mean, you can’t compare movies like that. Numerical ratings come from rating appliances or tools, which can be compared on a apples-to-apples basis. Forms of entertainment and art simply aren’t like that. It’s objective. Okay, I’ll get on with it now.

Avatar is definitely a must see movie. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, go see it now. Make sure you see it in 3D, and yes, it is completely worth the extra $3.

District 9

District 9 is such an interesting film. Where in the same year, we have Transformers 2, which has completely un-called for and over the top special effects, we have this little sci-fi masterpiece.

The movie starts off slowly. In fact, the start of the film is down-right mundane, with the unlikely hero trying to evict the aliens from their homes in the eponymous District 9, to move them to essentially a concentration camp. However, after an encounter with some wierd liquid in a container. The hero begins to have some strange experiences.

I won’t continue to summarize the film, but the point I wish to make is that the end of the film, which is every bit a spectacle as the best from Michael Bay, is totally deserved. The movie has to work to get to the point at which the hero can charge around in a mech-battle suit guns blazing with explosions all over the place. Because the underlying story is so personal and small, the big things that happen later in the film feel more meaningful. It’s not just special effects for the sake of special effects. The story just happens to have elements which require the CGI.

Although the story doesn’t completely “end” at the end of the film, the important things have happened to set the stage for the hero’s future happiness. So, it’s a fairly cheerful ending.

Overall 8/10

Honestly, looking at the score I just put up there, I don’t know why I rated this movie lower than Avatar. Avatar just felt so much more important to me. But that’s not to say that District 9 isn’t a good film. It’s just not one that I feel like I would want to see again. The story isn’t that deep, although it is interesting to watch unfold, and the characters aren’t terribly memorable. I hate to say bad things about the film, but there has to be some reason the movie doesn’t rank higher in my mind.

Star Trek

Seems like this is a no-brainer, as I’m sure everyone has already seen it, but I suppose I can say a few things.

First off, the film is the best Star Trek film I’ve seen, period. Better than all the old ones. Which is quite a feat, considering most franchise reboots don’t go so well. The story is radical and features enough time-travel to satisfy me. (I know, everybody hates Generations, but I loved that movie, and I love my Voyager just as much)

Enterprise let me down in a lot of ways. I’ll admit, I haven’t watched much of the show to judge it. But the show just doesn’t feel like Star Trek to me. The show is too dramatic, in a Battlestar Galactica sort of way. Which is not in-and-of-itself a bad thing, but it’s not at all Star Trek. The thing that I’ve always loved about Star Trek, is that every episode left you with a good feeling. One of the only other TV shows that I know of which had this same effect one me was Stargate SG-1. No matter what, the show always made you feel good about life, and optimistic about the future. (Unless it was a “To Be Continued…” episode) But Enterprise felt totally different. The show was in some ways, downright depressing.

So in contrast, the new Star Trek movie brings all the things that I love about Star Trek back to life for me. It makes me optimistic about not only my own future, but the future of the Star Trek series. The next one better be damn good though. Please J.J. Abrams direct this one too!

Overall 9/10

Love that alternate timeline shit. I just eat it up.

Where the Wild Things Are

I never read the book on which this movie was based, nor can I remember the name of it’s author. However, I don’t really care, because this film is fantastic despite my ignorance of it’s source material. The film is adventurous and helps me, as a 20-year old who already feels like an “old freaker”, to re-connect with that part of me that’s still a 12-year old boy.

I guess that leads me on to my interesting point about the film, which is that it’s a PG rated film for adults. The movie is great, but not great for kids. I believe that the themes explored in the film would go over most kids heads. Not that I think children are stupid or anything, I was a smart kid. It’s just, the movie is about how adults find themselves unable to use their imaginations. The movie is about how adults don’t take children seriously because they’re “just kids.” Flying off to space in an imaginary rocket ship is just not something that grown-ups like us do. We just don’t feel comfortable with that. I wish that we would, but for as long as we don’t, we will still have this movie, and I can still feel like it’s okay to believe in things which don’t make sense.

Overall 9/10

The story of the film goes some dark places, but I think it’s an uplifting film. The overall style of the film is quite unlike any other that I’ve seen. I can’t point out anything wrong with the film, but it just doesn’t get that extra point for some personal reason.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

I do however, know the author of the book upon which this film is based, Roald Dahl. I don’t know if Roald is a man or a woman’s name, but I do know that he/she also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, upon which two films (at least) were based. I also have no clue whether or not the movie adaptations of either book were in any way accurate to the original material. However, again, I don’t really care because Fantastic Mr. Fox is inventive and interesting in it’s own ways.

Unlike many claymation movies, this one just has a slice-of-life mundanity to it that’s simultaneously astounding and overwhelmingly wierd. I don’t intend to imply the film is unwatchable or anything, it’s just unusual. The story itself is quite simple, and is able to be interesting without really stepping outside it’s bounds. There’s nothing about the film which really tries to be heroic or epic, and it’s rightly so.

Similar to Where the Wild Things Are, this movie seems more for adults than for kids, despite it’s PG rating. Much of the dialog is perhaps funnier for more mature adults than for kids. With all the swear words being replaced with “cuss”, as in “What the cuss do you think you’re doing?” This might seem like a compromise, but it certainly doesn’t feel like that when you’re watching the movie. The voice acting is very dry-humor, and consequently the characters all take themselves seriously in a very real-life sort of way. I don’t really know that I can describe the way the characters act and talk in the movie, but it’s something that has to be seen. And believe me, the trailers don’t really “get” the feel of the movie.

Overall 8/10

A good simple movie about a fantastic fox, his wife, their son, and their son’s much more fantastic cousin.

(Whew, this is a lot more work than I thought it would be, I’ll be back soon with reviews of Up, Precious, Monsters vs. Aliens, Drag Me to Hell, Bruno (did I already review that one?), World’s Greatest Dad, The Princess and the Frog, and Up in the Air.)